MetaVR Visuals in F-16 Simulation
MetaVR Virtual Reality Scene Generator™ (VRSG™) is used in F-16 simulators at multiple U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserves, and Air National Guard training facilities in the U.S. and abroad.
AFRC F-16C aircrew training simulators
The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) recently acquired 20 new VRSG licenses for four new F-16C Multi Task Trainers (MTTs). Two AFRC F-16C Block 30 MTTs were installed this year at Homestead ARB, FL, and two at Fort Worth NAS JRB, TX, supplementing two previously delivered simulators for each site. These new systems then provide two, four-ship AFRC F-16C Block 30 MTTs with VRSG at each site. Geospecific terrain with airfields of Homestead ARB and Fort Worth NAS JRB with custom runway elevation data to match FAA airfield runway model, runway lights, geospecific control tower, hangars and other geotypical buildings, signs, light poles, and geotypical volumetric trees were delivered as part of the delivery.
The F-16C MTT is comprised of a cockpit, an instructor operator station, a 360° field-of-view (FOV) visual display and projection system, VRSG with MetaVR’s high-fidelity geospecific terrain and extensive libraries of 3D content, an electronic warfare (EW) threat server, and a host computer/power equipment cabinet. Each F-16C MTT can be operated as a standalone device or linked together to provide four-ship training within the facility or via ARCNET/DTOC/DMO network for participating in distributed exercises.
The purpose of the ARFC F-16C MTT program is to provide high-fidelity trainers configured to the latest F-16C Block 30 or Block 40 aircraft and capable of training AFRC F-16C pilots in mission qualification training, continuation training, and mission readiness training tasks.
AFRL F-16 simulators
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Warfighter Readiness Research Division 711th Human Performance Wing (711HPW/RHA) at Wright Patterson Air Force Base has long used VRSG in training research simulators. The 711HPW/RHA uses 157 VRSG licenses in multiple testbed programs both in the USA and in Europe, ranging from the MQ-1/MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft simulator (PRINCE) to the JTAC Training and Rehearsal System (JTAC TRS).
Most recently the 711HPW/RHA purchased and installed 15 VRSG licenses for F-16 simulators. These simulators are capable of networking with other AFRL simulators for joint missions, such as the ones described above.
For several years, 26 VRSG licenses have been used in the 711HPW/RHA’s F-16 Experimental Deployable Tactics Trainer (X-DTT) simulators.
555th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, operates an F-16 simulator, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The multi-channel synchronized view is driven by MetaVR VRSG. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Lotz/Released.)
The F-16 X-DTTs are deployable, medium fidelity, in-theater training systems for keeping the warfighter proficient between missions. Each simulator consists of an F-16 Block 30 aircraft shell with the actual F-16 Operational Flight Program (OFP) and high-fidelity aircraft stick and throttle. These simulators provide the essential F-16 cockpit switches on a touch-screen LCD in front of the pilot. Each simulator has six projected views in addition to a sensor view. Each system can be used as a standalone training tool or networked with other simulators to participate in larger exercises.
The AFRL simulators are primarily based at the Aviano Air Base, Italy. Others are used in the Secure Live Virtual Constructive, Advanced Training Environment (SLATE) program, which in September 2018, concluded a 40-month effort with a Phase III capstone demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base. SLATE demonstrates an LVC training capability that will allow pilots to train like they fight against realistic threats in a secure, high-fidelity training environment by combining synthetic and real-world air combat training.
Donald Simones at AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing, flies the simulated F-16 in a Deployable Tactical Trainer with the virtual scene rendered in VRSG during the SLATE demonstration at Nellis Air Force Base, September 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo.)
Visual system upgrade for EPAF F-16 simulators
MetaVR was chosen to be the image generation supplier for the 309th SMXG European Participating Air Forces (EPAF) program to upgrade the visual systems of Belgian and Portuguese F-16 simulators.
The upgrade calls for up to 40 MetaVR VRSG licenses, and two Terrain Tools licenses. In addition to supplying round-earth terrain of Europe and CONUS++, MetaVR will create and deliver five geospecific terrain insets (10 cm, 20 cm) of areas of interest in Belgium and model two geospecific Belgian airfields (Florennes Air Base, Kleine Brogel Air Base) and the Monte Real Air Base in Portugal.
The simulators will be integrated into full mission training (FMT) capability systems used for takeoff/landing, procedural response training, air-to-air and air-to ground tactical training (including weapon employment), and in customized pilot scenario training configured for use in real-time, immersive environments.
As part of the Pilot Training Next (PTN) initiative, the US Air Force recently took delivery of two F-16C simulators at Kelly Field, Lackland Air Force Base, which use MetaVR VRSG, terrain, and 3D models in an immersive virtual cockpit for training student pilots. In addition to use in Pilot Training Next, the simulators are being used extensively in the F-16 Basic Course (B-Course) syllabus.
Housed in a relocatable shelter, the 2-ship simulators use a total of 30 VRSG channels for simulating the out-the-window, embedded HUD, HMD/HMIT, real-time streaming protocol (RTSP) in the central display unit (CDU), ground map radar, targeting pod, and maverick missile displays. Two simulators with this same configuration were also recently installed at the Tucson Air National Guard Base at Tucson International Airport.
It is believed that for the first time in over a decade, the 149th Fighter Wing unit at Kelly Field has F-16C Block 30 simulators that match the current aircraft configuration -- concurrent with the hardware and software of the actual aircraft F-16C Block 30 System Capabilities Upgrade (SCU) 9.0 standard. This concurrency is essential for training new student pilots such that the students train in a simulator that represents their F-16C Block 30 primary platform.
MetaVR has built a virtual replica of Kelly Field at Lackland Air Force Base and Greater San Antonio, from 15 cm per-pixel imagery of the airfield area blended into 1 mpp underlying imagery of MetaVR's CONUS++ terrain. The terrain's elevation was built with interpolated 10 mpp NED of Lackland AFB, DTED 1 of San Antonio, and underlying CONUS++ DTED1. This terrain was built with MetaVR Terrain Tools version 1.5 for Esri® ArcGIS®. The runway was built with version 1.5's new Runway tool. Culture models were placed with Scenario Editor. Surrounding the modeled air force base is terrain of Greater San Antonio, comprised of buildings which were generated with Esri CityEngine®. For simulating night scenes, the terrain contains thousands of cultural light points of the airfield and Greater San Antonio.
The 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard recently took delivery of two reconfigurable flight simulators capable of representing either an F-16C block 30 SCU 9.0 or a block 40 M7.1 actual aircraft. The training devices incorporate a total of 30 channels of VRSG, 3D terrain, and 3D models. Pilots began training on the simulators this week at the Tucson Air National Guard Base, Arizona. In a configuration identical to the simulators installed at Kelly Field (described above), each simulator uses fifteen VRSG channels in an immersive virtual cockpit to simulate multiple views: out-the-window, embedded HUD, HMD/HMIT, real-time streaming protocol (RTSP) in the central display unit (CDU), ground map radar, targeting pod, and maverick missile displays.
Included in the 3D terrain is MetaVR’s virtual replica of Tucson International Airport (KTUS), which was built from 15 cm per-pixel source imagery of the airfield area blended into 1 mpp underlying imagery of MetaVR's CONUS++ terrain terrain. The terrain's elevation was built with interpolated NED 1/3 (10 mpp) blended into underlying DTED 1 data. The round-earth terrain was built with MetaVR Terrain Tools for Esri ArcGIS. Culture models of the geospecific control tower and other structures were placed with Scenario Editor.
F-16 network training center at Luke Air Force Base
Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Glendale, AZ, uses 62 MetaVR VRSG licenses in their F-16 full-mission training simulators at the base's Network Training Center facility. Each dome-based multi-channel simulator contains a full cockpit replica of an actual F-16C, with VRSG rendering out-the-window (OTW) and sensor views. Luke AFB is a major training base of the Air National Guard’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) for providing advanced flight training to fighter pilots.
As part of the initial VRSG delivery in 2010, MetaVR built and delivered high-fidelity geospecific 3D terrain of Luke AFB (KLUF), to include the airfield and the Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR) with the East Tactical Range (ETAC) airfield with geographically located 3D models of all of the range targets. The terrain, built from natural color imagery, is in MetaVR's round-earth Metadesic format from natural color imagery. Imagery of the area of Arizona around Luke AFB is 1-meter per-pixel (mpp) resolution, BMGR is 0.50 mpp and the Luke airfield with its immediate on-base surroundings is .30 mpp resolution.
F-16 simulators for automatic collision avoidance
Using MetaVR visuals, ZedaSoft, Inc. built delivered a dual-dome reconfigurable F-16 simulator system to Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs (ADP) group in support of ACAT/FRRP. The ACAT Fighter Risk Reduction Project program, with a team that includes U.S Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, develops collision avoidance technologies for fighter/attack aircraft that would reduce the risk of ground and mid-air collisions. This phase tests automatic collision avoidance technologies between USAF fighter aircraft.
The dual-dome solution provides two F-16C Reconfigurable Cockpit Systems (RCS) in high- resolution large field-of-view display and projection systems.
As part of the system MetaVR provided a 3D terrain database comprised of satellite terrain imagery for the entire continental United States (CONUS) at 1-meter per-pixel resolution with higher resolution insets for Nellis Air Force Base (AFB), Edwards AFB, and Fort Worth Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NASJRB) areas.